Abstract: In this paper a survey of the various types of solar thermal collectors and applications is presented. Initially, an analysis of the environmental problems related to the use of conventional sources of energy is presented and the benefits offered by renewable energy systems are outlined. A historical introduction into the uses of solar energy is attempted followed by a description of the various types of collectors including flat-plate, compound parabolic, evacuated tube, parabolic trough, Fresnel lens, parabolic dish and heliostat field collectors. This is followed by an optical, thermal and thermodynamic analysis of the collectors and a description of the methods used to evaluate their performance. Typical applications of the various types of collectors are presented in order to show to the reader the extent of their applicability. These include solar water heating, which comprise thermosyphon, integrated collector storage, direct and indirect systems and air systems, space heating and cooling, which comprise, space heating and service hot water, air and water systems and heat pumps, refrigeration, industrial process heat, which comprise air and water systems and steam generation systems, desalination, thermal power systems, which comprise the parabolic trough, power tower and dish systems, solar furnaces, and chemistry applications. As can be seen solar energy systems can be used for a wide range of applications and provide significant benefits, therefore, they should be used whenever possible.